Savvy kitchen and bath professionals know that generating consumer leads from social media and blogging is one hugely untapped market. And salespeople who use this to augment their word of mouth referrals are usually seen as the go-to experts of their area and drive more revenue than more traditional salespeople.
At some point the question of Google’s pay-per-click (a.k.a. PPC) usually comes up as a way to drive even more leads. So the question really boils down to whether or not this is an effective use of money for business owners in their advertising budgets.
In the last 12 months, we’ve seen massive drops in the effectiveness of traditional advertising used by dealers and remodelers (yellow pages, billboards, newspapers, etc.). We’ve also seen massive rises in the effectiveness of referrals and word of mouth. As social media continues to spread wildly in the Cabinet Industry, more and more cabinet dealers are driving new leads to their doors and saving big on their advertising budgets.
There are two ways to use PPC.
The Gambling Addiction (fast, expensive and hard to sustain)
The typical scenario goes like this: You set aside a bucket of dollars, bid on keywords, and “charge up” each month hoping for leads to come your way. If you’re lucky enough to initially nail some keywords which resonate with your target customers, you’ll get some leads. If not, you’ll be disappointed. Either way, you pay a certain amount each month and you’ll need to keep paying that amount as the months go by.
The problem with this approach is that the money you spend for those leads can vary wildly depending on who is bidding on the keywords. One month it might cost you $500 for 10 leads, the next month it might cost you $1,500 to deliver the same results (i.e. your competitor jumps in on your success and bids for similar keywords). Or, if you pick a highly sought after keyword, it can get very expensive.
This is a great model for one company (Google), but a not so great model for you. It’s not really sustainable. There’s a company right down the street from us who is now up over $1.3M per year on PPC with declining conversion rates across the board. This means that each month it gets a little more expensive for them to deliver the same amount of new leads to the sales team. After several years of them using PPC in this way, they’re hooked. If they ever stop their PPC campaigns, the leads dry up immediately.
Basically, they’re addicted.
Going Organic (slow, affordable and sustainable)
The other way to use PPC is after you’ve experimented on your own with keywords that resonate with your target audience. By getting into social media and having a blog, people will begin to find you organically. PPC can be used in this way to experiment with new keywords you think you might want, and if they work you use your blog to publish more content around these keywords so that you dominate the organic search results.
For example, you experiment with the keyword “charlotte kitchen and bath remodeling” and notice that you are getting good leads from this keyword. You immediately start blogging about “charlotte kitchen and bath remodeling” for the next few weeks and after a few months when someone searches on that phrase, you’ll notice they’ll not only see your sponsored link, but right underneath it are a few of your recent blog articles.
At that point in time you can stop paying for the sponsored link, and use that money to explore a new keyword. If you have to stop spending money on PPC, you still reap the benefits of your organic traffic for that keyword.
That’s what we mean when we say “sustainable.”